Category Archives: Blog

Guess How Much I Love You

Posted on Oct 26, 2021 | Download

Psalm 103:11-13 (NLT) 11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him     is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12  He has removed our sins as far from us     as the east is from the west. 13  The Lord is like a father to his children. When I read this passage of scripture, it stirs my heart as a father. I can’t help it. Describing unfailing love as great as the height of the heavens is a bold and epic picture of love. I think any parent can relate to this – especially fathers. This passage reminds me of one of my favorite children books to read to my son - “Guess How Much I Love You.” We’ve read it countless times. In this short book, father and son trade off phrases of love for one another, each building on the one before. “Guess how much I love you…?” “I love you this much…” “But I love you THIS much…” … “I love you right up to the moon.” “I love you right up to the moon…and back” Each night when I go to tuck my son in to bed and say “goodnight”, I try to get him to look me in the eyes and I tell him – “You’re my son. I am proud of you and I will always love you.” Of course, first I want him to know my love for him, but if I am being honest, I think that deep down maybe I also utter this phrase to fulfill a longing in my heart from when I was growing up. As you might imagine, trying to get a three-year-old to look you in the eyes at bedtime can sometimes be an uphill battle. Sometimes he goofs and squirms and moves his head around in a silly way. When it is late and he is overtired, I am usually trying to match his eyes with mine to get him to know and understand that I see him, I am proud of him and I will always love him. But one night recently, he did something that just hit me like a ton of bricks. He was moving and squirming like normal, and I started to say, “I am proud of you.” He stopped his moving, turned his head to me, looked me square in the eyes, smiled and said, “thank you.” The next day, in my time with the Lord as I was meditating on Psalm 103, He revealed to me as clear as day  that no matter what natural longing in my heart I may be hoping to fulfill or compensate for with my son – the Lord has been right here, the entire time, trying to match His eyes with mine, so that I would stop, know and understand… …Understand that He sees me. …Understand that He is proud of me. …Understand that He will always love me. I may have been seeking for a natural, physical longing to be fulfilled. But my Heavenly Father has been here all along, telling me how proud of me He is, telling me how much he loves me.      

What Motivates You? 

Posted on Jun 11, 2021 | Download

"But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. 1 Corinthians 4:3-5 Enduring Word - Commentary  “In fact, I do not even judge myself: Even our estimation of ourself is usually wrong. We are almost always too hard or too easy on ourselves. Paul recognizes this, and so will suspend judgment even upon himself. In the end, he who judges me is the Lord. “ What Motivates you? Is it what others think of you? Are you constantly judging others? Are you constantly judging yourself? You are not the judge, but God is. We should only be seeking His praises and His approval. At the final judgement, it's just going to be me and what I have. I am responsible for my life. I have to be willing to first be obedient to God. What is He saying to me? Am I allowing the truth of His word to come alive in me? Am I willing to stop always asking 'why' and simply obey? Why must I constantly fight these inward battles that have already been won? I've been asking for discernment and wanting to know if I'm really hearing from the Lord, which then starts with practicing obedience in the 'small' things. I'm not going to grow any stronger in my faith, if I'm not willing to use that faith to step in obedience to His leading. It doesn't matter what others around me are doing. God may be dealing with them on something else. Even though we may all be going on the same journey, it doesn't mean that the path is the same or that we're even at the same place. God has designed a custom course for each of us to get through. Don't let how others are traveling on their course make you stuck in yours. God alone is who we must obey and then allow those around us to be an encouragement along the way (and vice versa). Just remember, it's ultimately Gods voice that needs to be louder than any other voice. Can we honestly say His voice is louder than our own thoughts? Is His voice louder than what others think about us? Let us stop judging others, stop judging ourselves and start living an obedient life that pleases the Lord.

True Light

Posted on Apr 15, 2021 | Download

“No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light. Luke 11:33-36  When one lives in darkness, there are two possible reasons why. There may be no light source, or the darkness may be within – the inability to perceive light. When Jesus warned, take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness, He warned against the darkness within.”—David Guzik If the darkness comes from within a man and prevents him from seeing the light of Jesus, it doesn’t matter how bright and glorious Jesus is – he can’t see it. “A man without an eye might as well be without the sun, so far as light is concerned.” - Charles Spurgeon Jesus here is referring to spiritual eyes, not physical, so it got me thinking, “Why is Jesus comparing one’s eyes to a lamp?” Our eyes are the only window to what’s inside; eyes connect the outside with the inside. I love how Guzik distinguishes between 2 types of people living in darkness: There may be no light source. The darkness may be within. The first group are all those Jesus came for-those who know they are sick and need a doctor (Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31). Many may not have been able to read or have any access to truth; others couldn’t physically get to the synagogue, and some would not have been accepted if they could. But the second group, these are the ones who think they have light, but it is actually darkness. This is a dangerous place to be, and it’s not just the false teachings of the Pharisees-this applies to all teachings contrary to The Word of God, and they are rampant today. These people hold tight to relative “truths” that they believe are absolute. However, their beliefs never seem to require anything of them that they weren’t already willing to give. And if you really look, this darkness that they think is light never changes them for the better and never makes the inside pure. It is good for virtue-signaling and keeping up appearances, but it is an empty faith or no faith at all. Yet the light Jesus gives pierces through to our very joints and marrow (Hebrews 4:12), testing and purifying us as we walk in the light of His truth. He is STILL opening the eyes of the blind! Do we have a heart that is willing to acknowledge our sin and repent? Will we change our mind and believe in The One Absolute Truth, Jesus Christ, The Word of God (John 1:1)? “We must carry out the works of Him who sent Me [Jesus] AS LONG AS IT IS DAY; night is coming, when no one can work.” John 9:4 “For you were once darkness, but now you arelight in the Lord. WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT” Ephesians 5:8 “If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” Luke 11:36 Precious Father, thank You for Your Light of Truth! Holy Spirit reveal to us any “dark corners” where we are believing the lies of this world. We want Your floodlight to make our whole lives radiant so all people will see You and believe! Guide us into all truth (John 16:13)! We praise You and glorify Your mighty name!

Victorious

Posted on Mar 26, 2021 | Download

Luke 1:37 "For the word of God will never fail." Other translations say, "For nothing is impossible with God." "Nothing is impossible. Every chain is breakable. With you, we are Victorious. -More Than Conquerors, Rend Collective. The truth is simple. God is able. He does not fail. He is faithful, slow to anger, rich in mercy. He is love. He is peace. He is just. He is real. His word, Jesus Christ, triumphed over sin and the grave. In so doing, You broke every chain and yoke of slavery of sin from Adam & Eve til forever.  What must we do in light of this?  Respond.  "Mary responded, 'I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true.'" Luke 1:38a God, my heart is the same.  Your way, over mine.  Your plan, over mine.  You, over me.  I see the chains You have broken; help me not pick them up and carry them through my life as useless baggage. For I was bound by sin, shame, and wasting away. You offered me love and freedom. I believed. So, I now walk in Light and Hope with purpose and authority in Christ. Nothing is impossible, You do not fail. With You, I am, victorious. In Jesus name I pray, trust, and rest...selah...Amen  

Driven and Tossed

Posted on Mar 26, 2021 | Download

Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?”  “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!” They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. So they finally replied, “We don’t know.” And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”  Mark 11:27-33 Just a couple days before, Jesus had entered Jerusalem on a colt while people gathered to sing His praises. The following day, Jesus entered the Temple and drove out all the moneychangers and people buying and selling. The day after, as they come to the Temple area, the leaders are asking Him by what authority He does these things. It is sad to think that the religious leaders of the day had no standards by which to base their answers: they talked out of both sides of their mouths. They had to talk it over amongst themselves. They were afraid of the people and afraid to look bad, so they would not even take a stance.  What happens to people who have NO standard? No plumb line? The Word of God is to be our standard and plumb line-our very foundation built on the Solid Rock!  “I will test you with the measuring line of justice and the PLUMB LINE of righteousness. Since your refuge is made of lies, a hailstorm will knock it down. Since it is made of deception, a flood will sweep it away.” Isaiah 28:17 So many are living in houses built on the sand of lies and deception of the world. They are afraid of the people and afraid to look bad, so they have no values or beliefs and talk out of both sides of their mouths. There is a powerful remedy for this sickness of deception: it is the wisdom of God! “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea DRIVEN AND TOSSED by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8  We shouldn’t expect to receive the remedy of God’s wisdom through unbelief. We must return to the foundation that is The Word of God, the plumb line, the standard, and BELIEVE! The waves are like the circumstances of our lives: they are unpredictable and ever-changing, and they’ll knock a house down FLAT that is built on the sand of lies and deception. If we build our beliefs on our perspective or the world’s perspective of life experiences, we will be swept out to sea. EVERY. TIME!  Precious Father, thank You for the plumb line of Your Word that shows us as in a mirror where we’re not lining up. Continue to reveal to me my own heart and how it doesn’t measure up to Your standard because I long to be more like You! Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight oh Lord my Rock and my Redeemer! Oh I love You, Yeshua! Amen!  

Time to Multiply & Pass It On

Posted on Mar 11, 2021 | Download

"And the Lord has given both him and Oholiah son of Ahisamach, of the tribe Dan, the ability to teach their skills to others. The Lord has given them special skills as engravers, designers, embroiderer in blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers. They excel as craftsman and designers." Exodus 35:34-35 The Lord gives good gifts to His children. He gives talent, skills, and ability. Along with these gifts, He gives His children the ability to teach. They can pass on God's gifting to others! And not like "passing on" so that they are empty handed but teaching it forward to another. Not less for self, but more for all.  That is amazing! Incredible, actually. That God would pass on His blessing/anointing on His people through His people...that gifting was designed by God to multiply & transfer like this is stunning.  How do I live this? What gifting do I have? What are my talents, skills, abilities? Am I even aware that I have gifts from God?  Do I live in such a way that promotes the teaching and passing on of the gifting, talents, and ability God has given me? Not in forced authority, but in the humility of a servant, like Jesus was a servant. Do I multiply God's gifts to me? God, reveal to me what I have shut my eyes to. Reveal what gifts You have given me. Reveal the talent and ability that I have deemed, natural. Help me find new ways to share, to pass on, to teach on. You have created this system of multiplication & transfer, forgive me for not working within it. God may you see a return on the gifts in these upcoming months and years, more than You have ever seen. I want to be a good steward and see others know You more & not lack in anything. In Jesus name I pray and trust, Amen  

Faith Bears Fruit

Posted on Mar 11, 2021 | Download

Mark 11:12-14 "The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. Then Jesus said to the tree, 'May no one ever eat your fruit again!' And the disciples heard him say it." Mark 11: 20-22  "The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, 'Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!'  Then Jesus said to the disciples, 'Have faith in God.'" This tree was guilty of “false advertising”, as Guzik says: if a fig tree had leaves, it would normally also have figs; “This tree was cursed because it professed to have fruit, but did not”. Just after Jesus cursed the fig tree, they went into Jerusalem, entered the Temple and Jesus began driving out the people who were buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He turned over the tables of the money changers saying, “My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” This is often called the cleansing of the Temple. Jesus was turning the tables on their twisted traditions and beginning to usher in His New Covenant whereby any could come to Him through FAITH. The next morning, the disciples noticed the fig tree had withered “from the roots up”—this tree that professed to have fruit was deteriorating from its source: it had been planted in the poison of self-righteousness and pride. It would be destroyed from the inside out because of its faulty foundation. As soon as Peter brings attention to it, Jesus’ response is: “Have faith in God.” “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.” Romans 3:22 The Pharisees and teachers of religious law wanted to be made right through their works-especially the works they determined were right. But Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, THROUGH FAITH—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” “Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been FIRMLY ROOTED and now being built up in Him and established in your FAITH, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6-7 And this faith, firmly rooted in Christ, ALWAYS BEARS FRUIT, fruit that will last!  Precious Father, thank You for the New Covenant in Jesus whereby we can come through faith in The Risen Savior! Just like the fig tree withered from its roots, what we are rooted in is so vitally important: help us never to trust in our own righteousness or rituals-it is through faith in Christ we are saved and through the Holy Spirit living in us that we bear fruit! Help us to be diligent to come continually to The Source through The Word of God and prayer and worship! We love You, Jesus! Amen!

Scar Check-Ups

Posted on Mar 4, 2021 | Download

"But if the area grows no larger and does not spread, it is merely a scar from the boil, and the priest will pronounce the person ceremonially clean...But if the infected area has not changed or spread on the skin, and has faded, it is simply swelling from the burn. The priest will then pronounce the person ceremonially clean, for it is only the scar from the burn." Lev 13:23 & 28 Have you ever been burned or had a blister? Have you ever scratched a scar? Depending upon on how recent the wound this can really do a number on you. Young scars, fresh scars can be easily reopened. Deep scars, from great wounds, can damage the nerves on the skin and result in loss of feeling in that area. When one of these deep scars are scratched there can be such a lack of awareness, remember you lost your feeling, that you walk around bleeding on everything you touch.  New scar, old, or deep there are big reasons that we need regular scar check ups. God, here are my scars. Have any of them been scratched recently? Are You wanting to restore healing or feeling? Is there something growing under the scar that needs tending to, an infection, perhaps? Is that why I am sensitive there? Is that why I am unconsciously protecting that space from anything that gets close?  Unseen infections may require a reopening & cleaning. Lord, I am going to be real honest; I don't want to do this. I don't want to revisit this wound. I hate the scar. Seeing it makes me feel shame and disgust with myself. Now you want to open and expose it to the air? God, the air hurts open wounds. I will feel everything. Why? You know I can't do this alone. Do I trust You to take care of me here, vulnerable, exposed? I am scared. What if....what if it is unclean-able. I want to be more than "ceremonially" clean.  Okay Lord, You are the High Priest. You are the One who makes me white as snow. Take my scars. You are the Great Physician. I trust You will heal me. You are the only one who speaks, "You are clean!" I receive the healing. I receive the freedom. By Your stripes, I am healed. Help me walk like one who is Clean and look at my scars for their sacrality*. Amen.  *For more on the *Sacrality of Scars listen to Pastor Tony's sermon from April 14th, 2020.

God is calling, trust His timing!

Posted on Mar 3, 2021 | Download

“One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭1:16-17‬ ‭ God has a call for all of us and he wants us to walk in it. I know for me, if I don’t know all the details of what to do next in my life, I can come to a place where I don’t do anything. I freeze because I just don’t want to miss what God has for me or I freeze because I’m scared, or because I think God might forget about me.  I love this passage and how it paints a picture of the disciples doing something with their lives until Jesus calls them. I believe God uses every season of our lives to get us ready for the next. So even if we may not be doing exactly what we want to, we should still remain faithful, trusting that he will come through for us. He will guide us to our calling, we don’t have to freeze, be afraid, or fret. 

Called Out or Outsider?

Posted on Jan 21, 2021 | Download

The first church I went to as a 7-year-old child, was the one I stayed at for the next 18 years. By the time I was a teenager I walked the building with insight and authority. I even ran through the halls a time or two. I knew where every bathroom was, every "secret" closet and stairwell. I played the grand piano when no one was looking. I even worked there as an intern as soon as I graduated high school; immersing myself more in the church culture and my family. When you know who to get petty cash from and they give it to you...you know you are part of the team. It was one of the times in my life that I felt most valued, most essential, and most included. When we left my childhood church and moved to Texas, an unidentified void grew within me.  Church felt different. I felt like an outsider. Present but not seen. Present but not known. Present but invisible. But why? It must be the church. So we tried a new one. Week after week, month after month, year after year, church after church we tried to fit in. Yet the void didn't lessen. I missed the connection I had felt in my first church. The unity that came from meeting more than on Sundays. I missed being needed. I missed being called out. I missed being seen. I missed being part of a church family.  I remember telling my spouse how lonely I felt in service. I struggled in my desire to go each week. My joy in "church" was dead. No one sees me anyway. I am not on the inner circle. I am an outsider. But the conviction to be in church was too strong. Truth overcomes our momentary feeling if we do what is right even though we don't feel it.  So, I took up my "outsider" role as a call from God. Was He asking me to focus less on myself? There must be purpose in this. God loves me and is good. He does not forsake His people. There must be others who feel like they are unimportant and left to struggle alone. I could seek them out & make sure they feel known and seen. I could reach out, encourage, and uplift others. I could live called out to see people. Slowly my feelings of being an outsider changed. I was willing to be called out of my comfort zone. I started to feel connected. I started to feel seen. I started to be known.  How did I go from struggling alone and outside to believing I was a valuable family member? I did these three things: 1. Show up. Yes, it is that simple. Show up! When you feel like sleeping in, just want a quiet evening, or feel like watching the game... let your feet lead your heart into church. This does not only mean to the main service.  Ugh, you know it is coming...show up to...LifeGroups. It may not feel comfortable but being present in smaller groups is such an important way you will connect with others and it is where you will be seen.  Being a part of a church family allows you the opportunity to serve in the Body of Christ and serve others! We are gifted for acts of service to one another, and this happens when we don’t just show up once a week to ‘be fed.’  2. Speak Up. You are not alone. Look around you when you are in church. Show up a tad early so you have the time to say "hi" to one person*. Listen, let's be real, this is not easy. Looking away from yourself is hard. You will feel uncomfortable. But that is...okay! You may not know what to say, that is okay too. Ask a question. "How was your week?" Yes, it feels awkward to end one of these brief conversations but lean into the awkward. It is not what you say but that you say something that makes a difference. (Heb 10:24-25). 3. Dig In. Dig into your bible. Get on the Bible App. Invite someone to do a study together for fellowship and accountability. Join a Bible study. Spend an hour a week alone listening to worship music & praising God. Take a daily/weekly walk and ask God to speak to you fresh. Obey. You may feel like an outsider because the void inside you is not being filled by God. God still speaks today. Are you making time to hear?  We like to think that the reason we don't fit into a church is because it is the wrong church. That could be true. But when we examine our hearts honestly, often it is because we are too lazy to put forth effort, we are afraid to be vulnerable or uncomfortable, and/or we want to feel like a good Christian without surrendering ourselves fully to God.   God has more for you in 2021.  You are NOT an outsider. You are called out. (John‬ 11:38-44‬). It is time to respond to Him by Showing up, Speaking up, and Digging in!   *NAME MEMORY HACK Say person's name in a sentence right after you learn it. Then, just before you leave, say their name in your farewell, again. When you are back at your seat, whip out your phone or notebook. Write their name down with some description of their person or detail of your convo. Example: Crista, brown hair, two kids. Then, right before service the next week glance at your note. So you are ready in case they are there again. If you don't remember the next time you see them, ask. Remember, it matters when someone knows your name. People are worth this time and effort.  ----- Thank you for reading this original content from SomaChurch of Tyler, TX.  If you are part of another church body, we encourage you to apply these truths and practices wherever you are planted. Rise Up and live Called Out!